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Not your typical hammock

February 25, 2010

I’m sure that you’ve missed the Dharma Chameleon desperately, but please, [insert excuses here] kept me away from writing about my yogic journey, only. Rest assured that I’ve been out there more than ever…gittin’ ‘er dun.

Let it be known that I will fill all of my free time with yoga, and schedule days (not already filled with the drudgery of a regular job) around yoga. Monday, February 15th was President’s day and a wonderful day to not go to work.  (“What day isn’t?” might ask) I painstakingly planned my day around two things: yoga and, secondarily, shopping for trimmings. Don’t ask…but the latter led me to believe that it was best to schedule my yoga outings in or around the garment district  (7th ave, from 35th ish to 41st ish). This is how (and the yoga pass book) I found Om Factory.

OM Factory is a very nice and open studio located on the 17th floor of what used to be a factory building. (Think Triangle Shirtwaist Disaster) So, unfortunately, OM Factory is not an allusion to the fact that you are producing OMs. Although, while at OM Factory you probably will OM in many or all of their extensive stylistic offerings. I have to say that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to the AntiGravity Yoga class there but sure enough we did do some OM work. Not too much though, especially when compared with the work that was to be done throughout the class.

The thing about work in this class, however, is it doesn’t FEEL that much like work. (until after, when your abs go on strike) Because, well, you get to swing. Literally, the entire class is conducted in relation to a fabric swing/hammock. At the beginning of the class you fill the hammock with your body in a baddha konasana, and at the end the hammock expands to accommodate your entire corpse pose. I can only imagine what this looks like to an audience. Probably pretty hilarious. Also, possibly like a bunch of cocoons or oddly spaced testicles.

I imagine that due to the novelty of such a practice that most of the practitioners are some shade of novice and that there are not really any “advanced” classes or postures. It seemed to me that the class explores a lot of basic hatha poses adapted so that you are not doing them on the floor, but rather suspended over it. Plank pose is done with your arm holding your torso up, but your feet in the hammock. Oh, and then, “chaturanga” is a long and painful series of push ups done in the same position. The gold of this type of yoga, however, is clearly the inversion and back bending portion. The hammock acts as a spotter. It doesn’t even care if you’re sweaty and gross (but the next class just may care) and it provides the support so that you can be properly aligned in positions where people are probably usually all out of whack. In addition to helping align your posture, it’s pretty clutch in aligning your spinal column and decompressing it. I could have just taken this verbatim from the AntiGravity site, but this was actually my experience.  As you lean back and catch your feet up in the fabric you can feel each of your discs pop away from one another. It’s not as cheesy as a chiropractor.  Scout’s honor.

At OM factory, I was obviously predominately intrigued by getting to hang from the ceiling while doing yoga but they seem to have it together up there. In addition to cocoon yoga, they offer classes in Forrest Yoga, AcroYoga (partner yoga), Mama Yoga, Restorative, Meditation and Yoga Fight Club. I’m pretty curious about Forrest Yoga, but seriously, Yoga Fight Club? That is more contradictory than the Bikram Yoga  Asana Competition. I really hope it is a yogi’s take on a Jersey Shore style dance battle.

Just call me Mookie. MWow. The Conclusion.

[Image via: Media Clicks]

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